Performance of the Daily Overland Mail

“During the summer and autumn of 1861 the service was satisfactorily performed, despite the difficulty occasioned by accumulations of mail at the eastern end. The paper mail was usually carried through in twenty-eight days and the letter mail in twenty.

However, as winter approached, greater difficulties were encountered. . . Friends of the Ventral route were liberal ad blamed the unusual weather without condemning the route . . . On the other hand the champions of the southern route were quick to declare the service a failure . . .

But after making allowances for sectional bias, the fact remains that the service was slow and very irregular during the first winter. The Alta California admitted in the latter part of January that it had been about a week since the last mail came in from the east. . . .

During March and April there was little or no improvement . . .Between the snow and the mud the stage-coaches had a difficult time. . . . Sleighs were often employed over the heaviest snow stretches . . . Deep, still mud in paces made the empty coach a full load for the team, and passengers were compelled to walk. Mail bags full of government documents were frequently employed to fill in ‘chuck-holes’ in the worst patches of the road . . .

It was August however, before all the back mails of March and April which had not been destroyed, were delivered at the places of designation.”